Resurrection: The Internet Rises from the Dead

Five years ago this month, the Nasdaq hit an all-time high. Then, the bubble burst. Out went the capital markets. Out went the media spending. Out went the unsustainable businesses.

But, also out went the baby with the bathwater. For a number of years, the word “internet” was a dirty word. It was the punchline of jokes. I was embarrassed to tell people that I founded an internet company.

I am happy to officially state that the Internet is now raised from the dead. No, this shouldn’t be news to anybody who is in the industry. And, in fact, anyone who has ever purchased media from Google’s Adwords in the past few years knows that the Internet really never perished.

Sure, it’s broad category. “The Internet.” It’s content, it’s e-commerce, it’s advertising networks, etc. – it’s so many things. But generally-speaking, it’s back.

Google’s IPO last year didn’t open the floodgates for other initial public offerings. But it did help facilitate the mergers and acquisitions market, albiet a few months later. Yes, online mergers are hot again. The New York Times $410M purchase of About.com from Primedia, one of my former employers. Then, last week’s IAC/InterActiveCorp’s agreement to pay $1.85 billion for Ask Jeeves. Flickr. Snapfish.

But it’s not just a “Google effect,” as some would argue. It runs much deeper than that. Yes, Adsense and Adwords have provided a technology platform for monetizing “free” content and search on the web. However, other models are flourishing – subscription-based content on dating sites, a la carte pricing for mp3’s on iTunes, and downloadable try-before-you-buy executable games on gaming and general portals – just to name a few. And new technologies and applications are just emerging, like RSS, social tagging, and vertical search.

Yes, the Internet is back. And I am happy to be here.

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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